Success is all about who you have in your corner
In this episode of PROTalks, the PROSOCO technical team discusses the pre-construction meeting and who needs to be involved in your project team to ensure success. This is essential if you're planning a construction project, because you're probably leaving someone out. New episodes of PROTalks, a podcast by PROSOCO are available on Spotify, Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts every month. You can also find all previous episodes of the podcast here.
[00:12] Dave Pennington: Hello. I'm Dave Pennington, and welcome back to ProTalks. This is a podcast where we dive deep into construction and building product manufacturing topics. I’m the building envelope business unit leader for PROSOCO, and today I'm joined by several members of our technical support team to discuss who should be on your project team and why is that important. So, I'd like our technical guys to introduce themselves. Guy Long, if you'd like to go first.
[00:44] Guy Long: My name is Guy Long and I come from the building envelope consulting side of the equation. And what I provide for PROSOCO is kind of a review of plans and specs and providing detailing either in CAD or Blue Beam. And because of my experience in dealing from a consulting perspective, I'm usually involved when things start to go south. So, that's what I do and that's what I provide for the company. What about you, Paul?
[01:16] Paul Grahovac: I’m Paul Grahovac, Manager of Code, Standards, Testing and Field Support and this is primarily a talk about field support. And I say that because I have a lot of experience with testing, I can help visualize and understand some of the issues that may arise out on a job site. And we use a multidisciplinary approach. We bring in people from all over the company and put several sets of eyes on a situation and we can basically be a support staff. Everybody out there that's trying to solve a problem.
[02:00] Pat Downey: Hi, I'm Pat Downey. I cover the Western US. From Denver to Hawaii, from the Mexican border through Canada and Alaska. My background is in the window industry. Window and door industry. That's what I bring to the table: installations, trainings, help Guy out with some detailing on site. And that's my stronghold. That's how I was introduced to the products at PROSOCO Manufacturers back in the early 2006 time.Chris?
[02:28] Chris Tobias: Hi, I am Chris Tobias, the newest member on the team here at PROSOCO. I work primarily in the upper Midwest, from Iowa, in Minnesota, all the way over to Pennsylvania and West Virginia. And I work primarily on the technical side and working with contractors on site. I come out of the roofing industry, commercial roofing segment for 20 years, and really help in the field with trying to increase the level of collaboration between the trades from the roofing down to the wall and how we work with and install product at those difficult transitions.
[03:11] Dave Pennington: Awesome. Thank you, guys. Good to have you here today. Before we get into who should be on the project team and why, I think we should talk about problems. Project problems. Are there any projects you guys remember in your history in this industry that was missing a major member of the project team? Any good examples you guys might have?
[03:43] Pat Downey: I've had a few projects where one of the key people that was not there was the owner's rep. We're sitting there in the meetings and you got your architect, maybe a consultant, maybe a few of the different members, but the person that's responsible or has the most invested is the owner's rep. He wants to make sure he's got a building that's being built the way they want it designed. And I've had several of those where that guy's missing for one reason or another and it kind of holds up the whole system, the whole project.
[04:15] Dave Pennington: Absolutely. I'm not sure how you can qualify any decision without a representative for the owner there. Right?
[04:27] Dave Pennington: That'S a great example, Pat. Anybody have any others?
[04:30] Guy Long: One of the things as a consultant back while I was practicing is that in a precon meeting. Which unfortunately sometimes is overlooked or thought it’s not worthy of anyone's time. At least from the perspective of the consultant. The architect. The owner and the manufacturer's rep. It's one of the most important opportunities to be able to air out all the potential issues by simply providing the ability to throw the plans out on the table and start talking about the specific interfaces that each one of the trades are going to have to deal with. And it takes a whole lot more time than just simply going down the list. What about this, what about that, what about this? You have to talk about it and the people that are involved have to be there. Not just the decision makers that estimate the job or are part of the ownership of the company, but you need the guy that's in the field and have him communicate what he is intending on providing. And if he doesn't know that's where you get there and have the conversation with all parties and have the ability to work the details out right then.
[05:56] Dave Pennington: Great point, Guy. I mean, you just can't have a plan. Sequencing is so important to understand who's going where and when. If every trade shows up in the job and says let's figure it out, that's just a nightmare. Another question to you guys: Are there any projects where you've been called in too late that we're just trying to figure out problems that could have been avoided because of the precon? A good precon could have avoided them. So you're calling in too late and trying to figure them out then. Any examples there?
[06:38] Pat Downey: I had a job at Tacoma UPS where I was called in late due to the general contractor not liking a roofing detail with a sips panel and he has faith in the PROSOCO Cat Five product. And I got called in on a Friday to be there Monday and basically look over their details and then having to train the applicator at that time. And so basically was scrambling to get everybody dialed in and ended up spending several days there just to make sure the applicator was able to do it properly. So just kind of being brought in last minute because there were some major issues with this detail and we actually were able to take care of things, but it was jumping through some hoops. Luckily, I had time to do that.
[07:30] Guy Long: In my particular issue. It's relative to the manufacturer's involvement from the beginning. While the DD drawings are done communicating these types of systems that they're anticipating incorporating into the plans and specifications. When you come in after the fact, after the numbers have been approved and moving forward. Budgets are already set and then you throw the monkey wrench in the middle of all of that is where that can be problematic because you're not looking at it from a systems approach and everything else has to tie into that to make it work appropriately. You have to have parties that are involved right up front in order to make sure things and the projects go smoothly from the beginning. Absolutely important.
[08:31] Paul Grahovac: This reminds me of a presentation we saw last week at the annual conference of the Air Barrier Association of America. And a consulting group gave the presentation and they had a very strong emphasis on the key role that's played by shop drawings in the air barrier water resistant barrier flashing process. And they explain that the subcontractor who's applying the products as a responsibility to obtain the drawings and to generate from the architectural drawings what they call shop drawings, which then are to be reviewed and approved by the architect as common phrase as detailing how the intent of the architectural drawings will be executed with particular products. And as we commented to each other at the time, there was no mention of the role of the manufacturer in this process. And it's a tremendous burden to place on subcontractors to independently generate these drawings. Many times the manufacturer's standard drawings do not cover some of the more difficult details that are presented on the project. And the subcontractor needs to bring in that manufacturer for support in generating those shop drawings or details.
[10:12] Dave Pennington: Great point, Paul. That's a critical point and I think that's something we want to make sure that everybody that's listening understands our stance on. So who would you guys consider to be on the project team? There's always the architect, consultant, owners rep, but what do you think and why these guys should be on the team and part of all this design review and precon meetings and even mock ups, the involvement just to make sure that the project goes smoothly. Anybody have some thoughts on that?
[10:59] Guy Long: From an architect's perspective, when he wants to see a mockup, a lot of the times he's looking for aesthetic performance and what it looks like. We, on the other hand, feel very compelled to insist upon the mock ups to be tested because then, and only then, do you start to understand and find out that the interface issues that one would encounter as these wall assemblies and windows and all of the different wall components are being put together actually can maintain air and watertight condition. If you don't do that, the expectation is, oh, everything's going to stick. And then when it starts to rain or we do a blower door test or something is done, we find out that, oh my gosh, we should have done something in the beginning before we started to put the cladding on, before we started to put all these parts and pieces together.
[12:03] Dave Pennington: Yeah, I think that you're right, Guy. That's kind of where it starts. But they are there to institute the owners goals, right? So it's everybody else's job to help them make it happen.
[12:21] Chris Tobias: I think another important member of the project team, especially from the building owner's perspective is and I'm a big proponent of consultants. Many times you have all these silos from the designer to the GC to the sub as well as the manufacturer and they're all looking at the installation or application of the product from their own perspective. And many times it's about delivering the warranty or just get it watertight. And a consultant, when they really come in, they come in and they're looking at the advocating from the building owner's perspective and what's right for the building owner, are they going to get the performance that they want? And sometimes they're the bad guys, right? They're forcing things to happen that may be, I guess in excess of what the warranty is calling for, but at the end of the day, the owner is getting what they pay for.
[13:17] Pat Downey: I would add the product manufacturer rep. We come in there and I want to make sure the products being applied properly depending on your product. The GC, his goal is to get the job done and keep it on schedule. But with weather there's going to be products that cannot be used in certain climates, rainy climate, so on and so forth. So the product manufacturer rep can come in and support the project to make sure the owner is going to get what they're paying for and not apply. Products that get washed off during the rain, have a product that can be installed and inclement weather and then support the applicator, make sure they're not being pushed beyond the capability of the products. And then of course all the interfaces, making sure we have no compatibility issues and testing for adhesion. Those are the steps of a good rep for any product.
[14:18] Dave Pennington: Yeah, I think you're right, Pat. And to kind of tie that in with what Chris said about consultants which are so important, the consultant, his role for the building owner and how he works with the architect and the construction team and the reps, he's kind of subject matter expert, right? It's very difficult. I don't even know how anybody could feel their head as an architect with how to design a building and then know everything there is to know about every product option that is out there in every scope of work. So, consultants are so critically valuable to make sure that the roof is done right, or the building envelope is done right, or the below grade is done right or wherever they fit on the team. And they lean real hard on the product reps, too, because even though they're kind of the subject matter expert and engineers, they need to know what technology is out there that best suits the needs of the project, what types of application, unique application capabilities there are that best suit the project. And so they have to lean on product reps or the manufacturer. And I think that's kind of really the biggest part of the gray area. Not the gray area, but it's the part of the construction team that people overlook. And it's probably one of the most important. I heard years ago in this industry. It's funny how inexpensive it is to run a bead of sealant, but when that inexpensive bead of sealant fails, boy, it sure does cause a lot of expensive problems, right? Same thing if you're not counting on your manufacturer to be there to help you solve these problems on the job, to help with shop drawings, to help with the application and making sure that the contractor knows how to apply material or providing the best options for a product. And that's always kind of been our way. But you don't see it enough around the industry. I mean, there needs to be a degree of professionalism from manufacturers that they're there to solve problems because someone's using their product. You don't get paid extra for that. You get the benefit of having your product on the job. So you should be there to help make that go smoothly. And even sometimes you might have to rise above and recommend a product that you don't have that somebody else sells just to solve the problem. But it's those kind of things that have people calling you back because they know that you're there to help them. And like Paul said, project specific details. Everybody has got the can stuff on their website. Just go check the link, right? But you got to get involved and you've got to work with the consultant and the architect to fix things that were unforeseen in the design phase and provide a solution. So I would say that the most valuable member of the project team is your manufacturer, if he's stepping up to do what needs to be done. But the team should be in place. All those people we talked about should be working very closely together and communicating. And I think you're going to have successful jobs and not have to come back and fix things. But that's my opinion, for what it's worth. What do you guys think? Anybody have any other thoughts?
[18:08] Guy Long: I think you're spot on, Dave. To be honest with you. That's what it's all about. Having the entire construction team as part from the beginning, from the design details and drawings to the fruition of completion of project and the end result providing suitable testing and performance characteristics of the anticipation that's been done right?
[18:38] Chris Tobias: Yeah, I would agree. I think that's one of the greatest values that I bring to this company is to be the willingness to get out and to get on these projects and work with the contractors and show up for the job site meetings and encourage that level of collaboration with the other trades, making sure that they're involved in the conversation as well. I mean, I got on a job one just a couple of months ago and the crew that we trained was not the crew that showed up. So it was quickly recognizing, hey, this job isn't going the way they want it to go from a material yield standpoint and from a production standpoint and getting on in that project and helping those guys out, quickly training them up and they're off and running. So I felt like I brought a lot of value to not only to the client but also to the contractor.
[19:29] Dave Pennington: Awesome. Well, good stuff, guys. I think that there's some great points today and I really appreciate you all taking the time to discuss and we will catch everybody on the next row talk. Thank you. Take care.